Key Word:- ASK
Title:- The Monkey’s Paw
Matthew 20:22b… “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”
William was from Wapping. Born there on September 8th 1863, William Wymark Jacobs became a well known early 20th century writer of humorous stories. However, he is probably most regarded for a classic horror story called, 'The Monkeys Paw’, a tale of the consequences of tempting fate. The bottom line of the story is this: ‘Be careful what you ask for!’
The story goes that a Sergeant Major Morris visits the White family after serving 20 years in India. Whilst holding court with exotic tales of the country, he manages to sell them a mummified ‘monkey's paw’, said to have had a spell put on it by a holy man. This paw will grant its owner three wishes. Although Morris warns them not to wish on it at all, they do so, and with horrible consequences. I first saw this play performed when I was aged 11. It has haunted me ever since. Maybe you really do have to be careful what you wish for?
It has made me wonder if you have to be careful in asking God for things as well? Maybe our answered prayers can hold for us, horrible consequences? Why not? After all if we ask for humility, then maybe God will bring us to a place of dire humiliation? Maybe this will involve great loss? Loss of business, loss of family, loss of health? If we ask for strength maybe God will put us in a land of giants, where we are forced to fight and thereby grow strong? If we ask for a capacity to be gracious, maybe God will allow collapse, contradiction, and the consequences of sin into our life, so awful, that we are forced upon the banks of His grace and publicly have to sit there, dripping with shame before we are rescued by His loving lifeboat? Maybe then we shall be able to be gloriously gracious to others. Maybe we shouldn’t have asked for those things? Maybe it was a ‘Monkeys Paw’ kind of a prayer? Scary or what!
It was the mother of Zebedee's sons that came to Jesus, along with them, kneeling down and asking something from Him. Jesus mercifully got to the point with her real quick, saying “What do you wish?” She replies, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” Jesus retorts, “You’ve got to be kidding! You haven’t got a clue what you are asking? Are you able to go through what I shall go through?” Now I like this. Jesus seemingly calls a halt to this impromptu prayer and says “Oh really! Are you sure? Are you able?” Careful now, O wishful wife and silly sons of Zebedee. Careful now. Their reply to the question of Jesus is surely one of supreme ignorance? So they say to Jesus “We are able.” And we say, “Yeah right!” Never the less, Jesus answers them and says “Ok. Let it be so. You shall indeed drink my cup and be baptized with my baptism.” Oh dear friends. Now they’ve really got problems! Sounds like a 'Monkeys Paw' kind of prayer to me. GULP.
I have found my Jesus to be a little ‘tricksy' in that many times I have said to Him, “If I’d have known this, then Lord, there is no way…” and many times He has replied . “….and that’s why I never told you!” The future is mostly hid from us and I think it is because if we knew what was really around the corner, we might never venture out from beneath the covers of our warm little beds. Remember that.
If praying to our Father is simply rubbing the 'Monkey’s Paw' and is therefore but the unpacking of desires and wishes before a malevolent maker, then we shall indeed occupy a house of horror. For who knows what to truly ask for? If however, prayer is the Spirit released desires of our deepest hearts, that dare to break the surface of our troubled lives and form themselves on our lips, then yes, we may well be in for a few surprises, yes we might not really know what we ask for but in the end it shall all be good. We shall never bite off more than we can chew.
In God’s grace we have our next breath and our strength for the coming day, whatever it may bring. Along with this, we have a good God who wants to do us good. We are called to active believing faith. Faith that prays over the horizon, faith that believes from the darkest wells, faith that dares to ask, seek and knock. So go on, pray today to our good God! O wife and sons of Zebedee, pray something outrageous. I dare you! We have not been given a 'Monkeys Paw', cursed prayers from and an unholy holy man, but rather we have been given all things in Christ from a benevolent and delightful Father. Remember that.
Listen:- “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? Luke 11:9-13
Pray:-Lord in all my prayers, I know You will be good to me. Help me then to venture out in faith and largeness in all my asking. Amen.